Why Twitter’s Dying (And What You Can Learn From It)
umair haque

Just 4 days before you wrote this blog, I left Twitter. I had one account, deleted that after 4 years, then came back and created a new account. And now I have left it forever. I wrote a small piece about it too, but your words are so much more beautifully chosen. Thank you so much! I’ll copy it here anyway — bear with me as English is not my mother tongue. And I am sorry I am so negative, something I am usually not, but I guess that’s because I was shutting up about this too much and now the bomb burst.


I loved it.

I hated it.


I had been wanting to quit Twitter a long time. First, this piece was a long and private blogpost. Then I deleted that and substituted it with a less personal post. But there are also a few reasons why I stopped liking Twitter as a phenomenon. And I think it is emblematic and that it should be addressed.


Personally, I stayed on Twitter because I have a ‘fear of missing out’ on things, combined with a curious mind. So, … you do the calculation;-). I am terribly sensitive to these kinds of addictions and I found myself over and over and over again being on Twitter. It seemed stronger. But hey Twitter: you’re not. So I killed the beast. In 2014 I left Facebook already, then I left Instagram, then Pinterest. I need silence, point focus for my work.

But there’s something more.

Something I hated about the Social Media channels I noticed even more in December 2014 when all the IS-films and photos kept slipping through in my TL (timeline). In my ‘settings’ I had put the ‘warnings’ on (to keep me from seeing sensitive material) but then my followers started reposting — out of fury — the horror. I have a sensitive nature. I literally dreamt heavily about the horror. And when I close my eyes I can still see it. I wish I’d never seen it. Then in January the Charlie Hebdo attack was on Twitter too. I was scared, and angry. So I kept a close eye on Twitter to see if anything was going to happen in Amsterdam. But all this ‘excitement’ added up and I had even more bad nights.

This part about Twitter, I am certainly not going to miss. It’s not about closing my eyes. I have a strong imagination, which is a blessing and a curse.


But there’s also another form of aggression. Passive aggressiveness, something I hate in general. Indirect verbal abuse. On Twitter it’s called ‘subtweeting’: tweeting something about someone without mentioning their name. And I am sorry to say that this is mostly done by women. So back in 2012, with my first Twitter account, instead of unfollowing everyone who was passive aggressive, I started asking questions: “Who is this tweet for? It seems you’re aiming at someone, without mentioning their name.” But the answer I got was ALWAYS: “Oh no, it’s just something in general I wanted to point out.”

Yeah, right.

Then I wrote a blogpost about Passive Aggressive behavior once. Posted that on Twitter. Then I got people telling me that that itself was a passive aggressive blogpost. Which it would have been, hadn’t I tried the other route before. So then I started to slowly unfollow everyone who I considered to be a notorious passive aggressive ‘tweep’. That had me end up with a reduced amount of followers of 50%!


Something else I never liked either: people who are anonymous on Twitter. So: big sunglasses on a nose? Unfollow. Avatar with just an eye? Unfollow. Avatar with no name, no website, no bio? Unfollow. Avatar with a picture from a scrap book? Unfollow. And it wasn’t necessarily that I never liked what ‘they’ said, but I had no clue who was behind the words. People who wouldn’t want to be held accountable for their words may be. Or people who are scared too. Whatever the reason: it reduced my amount of people that I’d follow by an even bigger percentage.


There also this phenomenon on Twitter: constantly criticizing television programs. Edit: PEOPLE on television programs. Whether it’s their outfit, their bodies, their message … Some people seemed to have nothing else to do in their life than being critical of others. We’re talking about real people of flesh and blood who can read too. I cannot imagine the pain they must feel when they read all the #comments. Or worse: I can. Public shaming seems the latest fashion. It scared me to think that one day someone would also relabel my tweets, or accuse me of something I ‘barely said’. I am so done with this abuse.


Let alone those people who find trending topics (search on hashtags, I presume) and then post their commercial shit that has nothing to do with the hashtag itself. In reality this sometimes ended up being sototally off, I can’t even describe the anger I’ve felt at times. When for example the MH17 plane came down, and I wanted to follow the latest news, the #MH17 hashtag was so severely abused by commercial people selling their ‘safety products’. I was — in the middle of my sadness over the whole tragedy itself — furious with that. How could you? Where is your heart?


And finally Twitter has also become a place where people clique: you RT (retweet) me, I RT you. Affiliate messages. Hidden agendas. False ideas of ‘friendships’ (online is fake, and you know that). Then they say: “But I need Twitter for my business.” No you don’t. If that was true no business would have ever existed before Twitter. You just need other ways to get your clients. Old fashioned ways. Or new fashioned. Who knows. But you’re not dependent on Twitter and if that is the case you’ve put all your eggs in one basket which is never a wise thing to do — in any case.

Anyway, this blog is still in the middle of ‘creation’ but I wanted to respond. Thank you again, for putting my feeling into words much better than I ever could.

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